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Old Posted Apr 6, 2020, 1:18 AM
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Amazing skiing in Colorado

Just before the world went crazy with COVID-19, we had the chance to put in the best skiing of the season on our trip to Colorado. It was our first time to the state and we were quite thrilled to experience the high-altitude skiing the state is famous for.

Arriving at DEN, one is greeted by a beautiful and efficient airport which has the second largest footprint in the world.



There is first time for everything, like seeing a special ski claim system like the one DEN has.



Unfortunately we wouldn't be having any time to spend exploring Denver and only saw city skyline from I-70.



Denver is on the western edge of the Great Plains and is where Rocky Mountains begin rising.



As you head further west, the I-70 starts slowly ascending the snow covered mountains.



Loveland is the closest ski area to Denver.





Approaching Loveland Pass, the highest point of the entire Interstate system.





The four-lane Eisenhower–Edwin C. Johnson Memorial Tunnel along I-70 is the highest highway tunnel in North America and one of the highest in the world at maximum altitude of 11,158 ft (3,401 m).





We chose to stay in Keystone, which is a fairly quiet resort town close to Denver.



Most resort towns are served by free and regular bus system which makes it convenient to move about. Pay parking is unfortunately very common at most resorts with only few options for free parking. We ended up not paying for parking anywhere, but had to utilize ski buses to do so.



Keystone has a small yet neat town center with a lot going on during the season.









Our first ski day took us to nearby Breckenridge which has some wide open ski runs. Weather was absolutely fantastic on our first day and we really enjoyed our day in the easy runs.

A special shout out needs to be given to all resorts we visited for their excellent lift capacity which makes our home mountain Whistler-Blackcomb look a bit poor in comparison.









While the weather was beautiful, it was still very windy and we couldn't ride the legendary Imperial Express SuperChair which is the highest chair lift in North America taking skiers to the crazy altitude of 12,840 feet (3,910 m).



It's no wonder that local stores actually sell bottled oxygen, should one be hit by altitude sickness. We were a little worried about it ahead of arriving, but ended up not having any problems. We did still hear about people that had problems wit the altitude, which is pretty extreme compared to most ski regions on the continent.

Even the valley floor in places like Breckenridge is at 9,600 feet (2,900 m), so you end up spending days in high alpine air.



We ended our great day by visiting Keystone Ranch which is an awesome steakhouse with mouth-watering food.









Plenty of meat for the hungry skiers.





Our evening ended up relaxing by the fireplace in the log cabin's beautiful lobby.



More photos from our next few days in the second part of this trip report.
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Old Posted Apr 6, 2020, 2:38 AM
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nice...or should I say, jumalauta noi on siis helevetin hyvia kuvia!
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Old Posted Apr 6, 2020, 3:57 PM
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Beautiful!
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Old Posted Apr 6, 2020, 5:14 PM
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I learned to ski at Loveland Basin and spent many happy days at Keystone, Breckenridge, and Copper Mountain. It's the best overall area in CO, I think.
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Old Posted Apr 7, 2020, 2:23 AM
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Great pictures!

My mom has been going skiing with her brothers and sisters in Steamboat Springs for the last few years. She loves that state now!
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Old Posted Apr 7, 2020, 2:28 AM
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By the way, I just so happened to be most of the way through a can of Hop Peak IPA from Breckenridge Brewery as I looked at these pictures. It's a little like I'm there myself!
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Old Posted Apr 9, 2020, 3:14 AM
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Thank you for the comments, everyone. What a fantastic place Colorado's Rocky Mountains are and I now understand why Colorado is so highly regarded by skiers and snowboarders around the world.
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Old Posted Apr 9, 2020, 3:14 AM
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The next day we woke up early and drove some 60 kilometers west of Keystone to the legendary Vail. We had heard many stories of this fabled ski destination which had set our hopes for the day extremely high.

And boy oh boy, we were not disappointed! The day started off coming down some crispy runs under the blue sky.











Vail is so huge that it took us some time to navigate our way to the legendary back bowls area around the Blue Sky Basin. This area is a skiers paradise with extremely wide bowls everywhere you look. The furthest chair lift will take you almost 9 kilometers from the village and you start to feel very remote from the crowds.



It took us over an hour to track your way back to Vail and not a moment too soon, as a snow storm was picking up. We had a 2WD rental car with all-season tires, so we would have been trapped in Vail only an hour later as they closed down I-70 due to heavy snowfall.





Vail's main village has been built in Bavarian style and is very appealing. I wish we would have had more time to explore it!



Snow would be falling for the next 1.5 days and so we chose to return to Breckenridge for a second day. And what a great decision that was as we got to enjoy a great powder day with Breckenridge promoting this year being the snowiest February on record! Having been there, I can believe that as snow was plentiful everywhere we went!











After another amazing day of skiing we had made a reservation to the famous Ski Tip Lodge in Keystone, which is one of the premier restaurants in the region. They have won numerous awards for their 4-course meal which was excellent.



















Just like at Keystone Ranch, dessert was served in front of a fireplace which made for a special evening even more special.





Our last day took us finally to test out Keystone itself and boy, did we have a beautiful day to end our mini-vacation!







Just like the day before, also Keystone still had plenty of fluffy powder to enjoy and that we did!



Beautiful vista



Spectacular Mosquito Range with several 14,000ft peaks. One can also see the nearby Breckenridge in the middle of the picture.



And there you have it. We had a fantastic trip to Colorado and were blown away by the well-groomed wide runs. While we heard locals complaining how busy everything was due to President's Day, it didn't feel overwhelmingly crowded to us who have grown used to weekends at Whistler-Blackcomb...

This region has so many more resorts to try and we want to return one day to explore especially Vail's back bowls more. For that reason, I am sure we will find ourselves on a plane to Denver soon again.
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Old Posted Apr 9, 2020, 5:03 AM
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Stunning scenery
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Old Posted Apr 9, 2020, 6:39 PM
TwasBrillig TwasBrillig is offline
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Great pics and thread. It's wonderful to see so much snow in Colorado this year.
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Old Posted Apr 9, 2020, 8:49 PM
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Looks like you got great snow at the I70 resorts, which isn’t common. The valley floors typically look almost desert like even in the winter.

My Colorado favourites are:
-Loveland
-Arapahoe
-Wolf Creek
-Silverton

I’ve never had a good day at Vail. It is big and gets great weather but the prices are high, the snow is typically mediocre, the terrain kind of repetitive and crowds insane. I’m not a fan of Disneyski either, aka Whistler.
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Old Posted Jun 13, 2020, 3:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klazu View Post

Our evening ended up relaxing by the fireplace in the log cabin's beautiful lobby.


Being a non-skier, this is probably the atmosphere I would soak up on such a trip! Thank you for sharing your journey.
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Old Posted Jun 23, 2020, 9:50 PM
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I'll tell you what, being that we're closing in on July, these pictures are nothing but delightful!

Cheers!
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